The airlines who make the best use of data will be making every single one of their customers feel individually valued. Those airlines will also be making themselves the preferred point of contact for every aspect of a passenger’s journey. Not just the flight … but everything from when the passenger starts their journey to the airport in the morning until they check into their hotel that evening.
At Conztanz we spend a lot of time talking with airlines about their data-driven goals and challenges. Here’s our synthesized view of the top three ways that airlines can improve passenger UX in 2017.
The very first thing to do is take a step back from your airline’s IT and ask the question: “Is all of our passenger data freely exchanged around the business … or are there silos of data?”
Silos are the biggest barrier that any airline faces to create a next-generation user experience. Sometimes it’s to do with politics, sometimes because of the way IT has evolved through Mergers & Acquisitions or outsourcing, and sometimes it’s because of legacy architecture. Whatever the reason, so long as you have insular data silos you are rooted in the past.
An easy solution to silos is the ConztanzONE innovation hub. We developed ConztanzONE because it liberated data, our universal hub simply shares any data in any format from anywhere.
Once you’ve got customer data flowing freely throughout the business, you can start on the conjoined tasks of personalization and segmentation.
Liberating your own customer data will enable richer customer profiles, which leads to better service and smarter marketing. With a data structure that’s more comprehensive and flexible, you’ll also be able to use third-party demographic and socio-economic profiling to segment your different markets, in order to provide those customers with information and offers that’s personally relevant.
Smart use of data will also enable you to use initiatives like IATA’s New Distribution Capability. NDC is a two-way street: it enables you to push richer travel offers through partners and resellers, but it also enables you to capture richer information about customers.
In fact, capturing customer data should be a priority in your technical innovations, especially as an increasing amount of your customer interactions will be via smartphones. Which brings us neatly to the next point …
The end goal here is to be the single point of information for all your customers’ needs … from the moment they leave their home until they check in to the hotel that evening.
That includes the type of information your passenger would expect you to provide. Like flight updates, boarding gate and meal options.
But the next generation passenger UX should also delight customers by providing data they don’t expect you to provide: train delays, roadworks, car parking availability, special offers in the airport, things to do or weather at the destination. They’re all ways that you can build customer loyalty.
And you can add to that ‘push’ experience by enabling interaction. Imagine, for example, that a flyer could leave a message before boarding their flight saying “I have to go, Hanover, tomorrow, what are my options?” … and when they landed there was a text, email or app update giving the answer.
Once again, communications and interaction are enabled by a free flow of information into and throughout the airline. You’ll also need an API strategy, so you can share and receive data with selected partners and resellers.
And of course, the subject of APIs brings us to the questions of apps, which should be the holy grail for airline marketing and technical teams …
You doubtless knew this anyway, but it’s worth repeating that the zenith of your data-driven UX is going to manifest itself on that small piece of real estate known as a smartphone. And your customer needs to think that using your app was all so easy and so quick that it hardly involved you in any effort at all!
Your next-generation ‘mobile-first’ strategy will have the benefit of being personalized and segmented. And it will provide timely, relevant push information from a number of sources. It should also enable the customer to interact with you, and get valuable answers. All of which needs to be driven by smart, connected databases.
Making smart use of connected databases enables ‘event-driven’ marketing. This is where specified actions by the customer trigger a relevant response from your IT. For example, changing a flight triggers an offer to reschedule a connecting train journey or update the passenger’s hotel accommodation.
When you have delivered the ultimate UX for passengers, you can reasonably expect two outcomes: referrals and ancillary sales.
Referrals are because we live in a social world where people will share a great experience with their tribe, especially if you make it easy for them.
And ancillary sales, because the marketing offers you push, will have softer edges. Instead of a seat upgrade message being perceived as a crude way to get more revenue, the delighted customer will understand that they have a long journey ahead of them … and it would be a good idea to be relaxed. OK, that example is a little optimistic, but you get the point: if your customer is uber happy with the service and UK you provide, then they will be more capable of suspending cynicism and reacting positively to your ancillary upsell offers.
Customer data from multiple sources enables airlines to create offers and service levels that will win loyalty and increase revenue. An integrated data strategy will also enable powerful workflows or new apps to be developed, and data to be shared with partners and channel vendors.
ConztanzONE is a data hub that helps airlines to achieve that commoditization of data. Even data held on legacy systems, or on multiple silos can be gathered into a cohesive whole with the flexible ConztanzONE data hub.
In short, ConztanzONE unlocks the potential of siloed data.
To find out more about linking your current data with tomorrow’s customization programs, resellers, and smartphone inspired travelers, please leave your email address below.